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THE BEGINNING

The story of AirAsia began after Tony Fernandes observed and was impressed with the way that easyJet was run. EasyJet is a London-based low cost airline and he, decided to further explore the mechanics and intricacies of the airline operations first hand. It has been his childhood dream to run an airline someday. So, after spending two days at easyJet headquarters in Luton airport, talking to staff and passengers and learning first hand how the airline operates, he had a vision and where he believed that a low cost airline would be accepted and can be operated successfully in the Southeast Asian region. Therefore, Tony Fernandes, who’s started his career as a music industry executive at Virgin Records and Time Warner Music, resigned and returned to his homeland, Malaysia.

As Tony did not have any experience in running an airline, nor had any capital to start one, he raised money by mortgaging his house and using up his savings. He also brought-in three of his associates that is Datuk Pahamin A. Rajab, Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar and Kamarudin Meranun to start a low cost airline in Malaysia. Tony with the three as mentioned formed a partnership and set up Tune Air Sdn Bhd and bought AirAsia for a token sum of RM1.00 with RM40 million worth of debts. AirAsia was remodeled into a low cost carrier and by January 2002, their vision to make air travel more affordable for Malaysians had taken off. Tony turned the company around, producing a profit in 2002 and launching new routes from its hub in Kuala Lumpur, undercutting the former monopoly held by the national airline operator, Malaysia Airlines with promotional fares as low as RM1.00 (US$0.27). In 2003, AirAsia opened a second hub at Senai International Airport, Johor Bahru and launched its first international flight to Bangkok.

Valued at RM2.3 billion, AirAsia is today an award winning and the...

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